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Home / Opinion / Edward N. Luttwak | The betrayal of freedom

In very large, rapidly growing if uncounted numbers, immigrants from North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia who now live in North America or Europe, are refusing to poison the minds of their children with the intolerant , even fanatical ideas of their home villages and towns, to allow them to exercise the opportunities of personal freedom.

This need not result in any explicit repudiation of Islam, but most parents who are embracing modernity take good care to keep their children away from religious instruction, almost always provided by more recent immigrants, much less integrated than themselves, less urbane, and not infrequently stridently vehement in their preaching. Thus we now have growing numbers of post-Islamic youths, who are determined to enter society as full citizens of Western democracies.

Many have already made the transition—one constantly meets perfectly modern people with exotic Muslim names, who are now visibly rising in all walks of life to vindicate the fundamental choice made by their parents—who almost always had to work very hard, and sacrifice very much to educate their post-Islamic children.

Those fine, upstanding parents are now frequently undermined, even discredited by the presidents, prime ministers, professors and priests who keep claiming that Islam is a very fine religion of peace (some even cite the false etymology that derives Islam from salaam, peace—it actually means “submission").

They keep saying that Mindanao’s Moros in the Philippines, the Yala Jihadis of Thailand, Pakistan’s terror conglomerates, Afghanistan’s Taliban, Syria’s assorted Jihadis, the Islamic State ex ISIS, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Hamas, the Al Qaeda franchises of Yemen, North Africa, and Niger, and Nigeria’s Boko Haram, are not “real Islam"—oh no, real Islam is that well-dressed, soft-spoken Imam with his neatly trimmed beard who is forever attending inter-faith meetings where he embraces Christians and Jews (if not Buddhists or Hindus) while declaiming Islam’s peaceful virtues. As for the professors, in the US they have created an entirely new religion that might be called “American collegiate Islam" in which the Quranic passages that call for the beheading of apostates and unbelievers and the enslavement of their women are simply edited out. Students at Georgetown University are even taught that Islam is the only religion that condemns terrorism as such—a misrepresentation of the sin of haraba, which just means “destruction".

While presidents, prime ministers, professors and priests cut increasingly ridiculous figures as they follow each act of Islamic violence with renewed praise for the “beauty" of Islam, and its very, very, peaceful nature, the effect on the hard-working , much-sacrificing parents who are trying to bring up post-Islamic children is much less funny. Having recited all the reasons for their choice—bombings, beheadings, mass-killings and kidnappings from the Philippines to Nigeria, from Boston to Paris—they are confronted by their own children citing the feckless endorsements of an imaginary Islam by presidents, prime ministers, professors and priests.

This is the betrayal of freedom.

Let Muslim preachers defend their religion, though they would be better employed in cutting out the endorsements of violence in their own preaching. And of course nobody in authority—or not—should endorse extremist calls for revenge or persecution.

But non-Muslim authority figures should stop legitimizing Islam as it is, for that means legitimizing Islamic violence, and de-legitimizing the parents who are striving to educate new generations of post-Islamic youth ready to uphold liberal democracy.

Edward N. Luttwak is a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Comments are welcome at otherviews@livemint.com

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